Text messaging interventions boost medication adherence

Analysis of 2,742 patients showed the use of text message reminders improved medication adherence by 17.8%.

Person using mobile phone

Medication adherence in chronic conditions is notoriously poor and is a major challenge for 21st century healthcare. A meta-analysis has studied the growing body of evidence for the use of mobile phone text messaging reminders to improve adherence. 

The researchers looked at 16 studies involving 2,742 patients with a range of chronic conditions. They found that interventions via text message doubled the odds of medication adherence, raising the typical rate of 50% adherence to 67.8%. 

Writing in JAMA Internal Medicine (online, 1 February 2016)[1]
, the team say that text messaging has great potential to improve medication adherence due to its simplicity and the ubiquity of mobile phone technology. However, they warn their current findings should be treated with caution due to many methodological shortcomings of the studies, such as short duration and self-reported adherence rates.


 [1] Thakkar J, Kurup R, Laba T-L, et al. Mobile Telephone Text Messaging for Medication Adherence in Chronic Disease. JAMA Internal Medicine 2016; doi: 10.1001/jamainternmed.2015.7667

Last updated
Clinical Pharmacist, CP, March 2016, Vol 8, No 3;8(3):DOI:10.1211/PJ.2016.20200618

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